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An Alarmingly Ignorant Fuck

I love peanut butter—peanut butter on a banana or with blueberries. I may have invented the combo of prunes and peanut butter, although I don’t have a patent, and speaking of peanut butter, inventions, and patents, I was consuming creamy peanut butter when I read that Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, asked what nonwhites have done for civilization during a panel discussion led by MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Monday, the first day of the Republican National Shit Show (RNSS). Esquire writer Charlie Pierce, another panelist, had just commented, provoking King’s racism: “If you’re really optimistic, you can say this was the last time that old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face.” As I considered King’s question and savored the peanut butter relaxing in my mouth’s roof, I thought of George Washington Carver.

A Google search informed that Carver didn’t invent peanut butter after all. Around the 14th and 15th centuries, Aztecs of Mexico made a paste by mashing roasted peanuts. Still, Carver developed oodles of uses for the peanut. The man was a visionary and educator, important to scientific advancement in chemistry and botany. Born into slavery somewhere in the vicinity of 1864, he advised three presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin Roosevelt. In1916, he was named a member of England’s Royal Society of the Arts.

According to Wikipedia, Carver compiled a list of “virtues for his students to strive toward”:

 Be clean both inside and out.
 Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.
 Lose, if need be, without squealing.
 Win without bragging.
 Always be considerate of women, children, and older people.
 Be too brave to lie.
 Be too generous to cheat.
 Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.

Check this site to see “Great Contributions to Civilization by Black People.”

Of course, Rep. King’s observation during the discussion (?) was an insult to many “subgroups” [his term]. Hayes later tweeted his regret for not saying WTF ?. Okay, he actually didn’t use WTF ?, but he did lament going to a commercial break as soon as another panelist, reporter April Ryan, asked, “What about Africa? What about Asia?”

Yes, what about the Fertile Crescent region, Mesopotamia—civilization’s womb?

What about the pyramids, the Great Sphinx, the first writing systems, paper made from the papyrus plant, a calendar, plows, breath mints (which King most likely has used), and door locks, to name, um, eight?

What about tea, yoga, and the umbrella?

See this site for Arab contributions that include mathematics, architecture, philosophy, and medicine.

Suffice it to say that King’s an alarmingly ignorant fuck.

Addendum: Finally, the focus has shifted from Melania Trump’s speech to Ted Cruz’s coup attempt and Trump has out-Netanyahu’d Netanyahu with his whiplashing twist to consummate allegiance to Israel. Meanwhile, U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria killed dozens of civilians, including children, first two days of the RNSS.

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Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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